The government is now providing COVID-19 vaccines free of charge, at the expenses of frontline medical personnel and institutions, according to some doctors. A Banqiao clinic insisted on charging fees to vaccine recipient and was therefore at odds with the health department.
People obtain the instruction for COVID-19 vaccination and the yellow card and then proceed to fill out a health evaluation form. After the doctor's assessment and confirmation, they can get vaccinated. Starting June 7, the government started providing COVID-19 vaccines with no out-of-pocket cost to recipients. However, this has drawn backlash from the medical community.
Lin Ying-jan, Chairperson, Primary Care Association："Numerous clinics have backed out of the vaccination program. The CECC said yesterday that the clinics need to reach a certain target in order to be subsidized, which is completely different than what it had said previously, which was to subsidize NT$40 registration fee for each person. If the central government decides to treat everyone to a meal, then it needs to pay up. It can't ask the primary care clinics and medical facilities to pay the bill. "
A primary care physician says more manpower is needed to process the vaccination reservation, the logging of data, and the monitoring of the vaccinated person. The clinics, however, need to bear the extra labor cost themselves. Some clinics even had to purchase the 1cc empty syringe on their own for the vaccination. Although the Legislative Yuan has passed a relief budget of NT$840 billion, of which, NT$4 billion are to be used to cover the administrative fees for medical facilities for administering the COVID-19 vaccines, only NT$100 is being subsidized for each vaccine. Moreover, clinics and hospitals are ordered not to charge registration fees. A pediatric clinic in Banqiao, New Taipei City has decided to charge registration fees, but has been notified by the City's Health Department that its vaccine allotment has been suspended.
Huang Kuan-chieh, Sec. Chief, Disease Control Section, New Taipei City："We have engaged in continuous communications with the clinic, but couldn't reached a consensus. After discussing with the central government, the City's Health Department has decided to suspend the supply of COVID-19 vaccines starting July 21."
In response, the Central Epidemic Command Center says the NT$100 subsidy is specifically offered to the COVID-19 vaccination program, there are other incentives to be awarded to those who have reached a certain target number of vaccinations. In addition, the clinics weren't being subsidized NT$100 for administering other vaccines in the past. However, if people are seeking medical assessment for other health conditions while receiving the COVID-19 jab, then the clinics can still charge the registration fee.